Class Action Lawsuits Filed By Volkswageon Dealers Amid New Fuel Efficiency Questions

As a growing number of Volkswagen owner lawsuits continue to be filed over the recent TDI Diesel emissions problems, many local dealers have also begun to file claims against the German automaker as well, alleging that they have been stuck with inventory that they cannot sell or have to sell at substantial discounts. 

At least five car dealerships have filed Volkswagen class action lawsuits, indicating that they have not only suffered damages due to the cars in their inventory, but also note that because of deceptive advertising that falsely claimed the TDI Diesel vehicles were environmentally friendly, customers were drawn away from purchasing other vehicles. Some of the dealer class action lawsuits indicate that this required the other vehicles to be priced more competitively and led to increased advertising costs.

The complaints were filed throughout the month of November in Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, with many seeking class action status to include thousands of auto dealerships nationwide. They come as Volkswagen faces thousands of claims brought on behalf of owners of certain TDI Diesel vehicles, alleging that they suffered damages due to the premium paid for “Clean” Diesel and substantial drops in resale value.

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Volkswagen Diesel Lawsuits

Owners of certain Audi and VW TDI Diesel vehicles may be entitled to financial compensation.

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The litigation has emerged since it was discovered that emissions “cheat” software was installed on nearly 500,000 VW and Audi TDI Diesel vehicles sold in the United States, which was designed to detect when the vehicles were undergoing EPA testing and reduce emissions. However, during normal operations, the Volkswagen and Audi vehicles have been found to release excessive amounts of pollution.

“By utilizing the defeat device, Defendants were able to mislead consumers into thinking that their Clean Diesel/TDI engines provided fuel economy and superior performance. Because of these advantages, Defendants were able to induce consumers into purchasing their diesel powered vehicles instead of the diesel powered vehicles marketed and sold by Plaintiff and Class members,” a lawsuit filed by Brown Daub Chevrolet of Nazareth, in Pennsylvania, states. “In fact, the fuel economy of Clean Diesel/TDI engines was significantly lower than represented, and their superior performance was obtained at the cost of significant and illegal emissions of deadly chemical compounds.”

On Sunday, a report published in the German paper Bild am Sonntag indicates that Volkswagen executives knew at least a year ago that the fuel efficiency claims of some of the company’s vehicles were overstated. At least one vehicle, the Polo TDI BlueMotion, was removed from the market this summer because the fuel efficiency claims were so exaggerated, the report claims.

The Volkswagen emissions problems became public in September, when the EPA discovered that smaller TDI “Clean Diesel” vehicles sold in recent years had similar software installed, leading to a recall for VW Beetle, VW Golf, VW Jetta, VW Passat and Audi A3 vehicles sold in various model years between 2009 and 2015.

Volkswagen marketed the vehicles as “clean diesel”, which were promoted as being better for the environment and providing better gas mileage. However, the statements appear to be part of a major fraud on consumers who were trying to be more environmentally friendly.

The EPA has said that Volkswagen could face as much as $18 billion in fines for violating Clean Air Act emissions testing laws.

As the lawsuits over Volkswagen diesel emissions continue to mount, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is scheduled to hear oral arguments on December 3 about whether to centralize the federal claims before one federal judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings, as part of an MDL or multidistrict litigation.

Image Credit: Image via Vytautas Kielaitis / Shutterstock.com

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